Past, they say, is prologue. And, it gives some a reason for being ...

July 8, 2004

Inside the Fence

Past, they say, is prologue. And, it gives some a reason for being ...

By John F. Infanger

July 2004

The show report: This year's Aviation Industry Week in Las Vegas in May was vibrant (see page 24).

The evening reception report: Hubie Lee of PRG Aviation Systems, an FBO software type, and I got into a discussion about current events, and history. He thought it worth sharing.

Seems that early on in the discussion it occurred to me that very few people in the room probably knew the history of the National Air Transporta-tion Association, whose convention is part of the “Week.”

Turns out I knew. After entering aviation via NATA as communications manager, then-president Larry Burian made it my responsibility to keep the records preserved. It's a good history.

The best part of the history, and the reason for Hubie's interest, is that it ties to current events.

For those who didn't heavily study NATA history in school, or missed that day, the association was chartered in 1940 by a group of aviation businessmen (William A. Ong, among others) who wanted to show the government that private industry had a role to play in the upcoming war effort. They also didn't want to be shut down.

Because Pearl Harbor was more destiny than surprise, the feds were suggesting the government take over all aviation activities in wartime, particularly flight training. Thus, NATA was in essence formed to lobby legislators on the merits of the private sector in helping to make our nation secure. Of course, history proved the case.

Past, they say, is prologue.

The history is why Jim Coyne of NATA doesn't stop harping on DCA and charter/GA access to it. It's again a just cause, and one he is paid to do by his membership.

Of course, it's a broader issue, which is why Phil Boyer at AOPA and others keep battling for the one goal: open and free-as-can-be access across the country.

Words here and elsewhere have called on the industry to get serious about security. But this country has shown the best way to conquer threats is to have all parties on board.

NATA's history is one that reminds us it is our government, and we all have a role in the new war being waged. The more people (and business) are involved in this terrorist thing, the more vested they will be and the more secure our nation.

* * *

Finally ... George Bean passed away. Never knew the man; knew of him. If you ever traveled through Tampa Int'l and liked the experience, that was George. Word is he just took off on another runway one day.

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